Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why I Volunteer in My Kids' Schools

Every Wednesday I go to either my son's school or my daughter's school to spend a couple of hours volunteering. Where do I go? To the library. A few years ago when Amanda's school began recruiting helpers for the library, I knew that it was right up my alley. I am not PTA-Mom of the year. I don't feel it necessary to do everything every time. Additionally, when Kyle was a baby, he wasn't welcome in the school during instruction time, so my options were limited.

However, there are a lot of reasons why I do think it's worth my time to volunteer in my kids' schools:
  • I get to know their classmates. When I was at Kyle's school early on in the year, he proudly introduced me to his girlfriend.
  • I see how they act around their classmates (and how their classmates act around them). Think that your tween girl is a spaz? Spend time around other tween girls and you'll find out how normal she is.
  • I get to observe what the kids are wearing. Perhaps I've balked at Amanda's choice of attire (modest, perhaps -- but odd at times!), but seeing what the other kids are wearing is a good barometer of the fashion scene, such as it is.
  • I get to eavesdrop on conversations of other kids as they walk around selecting books, changing classes in the halls, etc. You can learn a lot by being an invisible adult.
  • I can learn the secret language of Kindergarten. When his class sat down, they were told to sit "Criss cross applesauce," which I know is the PC term for "Indian style" (which I probably only learned after observing in Amanda's preschool class). But a few weeks ago, I learned a new one; "Spoons in the bowl" for "hands in your lap."
  • It's an easy way to support the school, the staff and the teachers.
  • My kids like having me there, and taking time to be there for them makes them feel special.
  • On the flip side, by not saying yes to everything every time, I also show my kids that I leave room in my life for other commitments as well.
  • Oh yeah, and did I mention that I get to hang out with books for a couple of hours? You don't have to twist my arm for that one.


morninglight mama said...

So very cool. I'm in that position of having the little ones that makes me unable to volunteer during the school day. (And now, I'm watching another child as well, so that's an issue!) Once the kids are old enough to be at school themselves, I'll be back to working full-time. ARG!

I can see the beauty here in all your reasons-- and they're just wonderful!!

Nancy said...

I volunteered in the library last year and I loved it. I only went in on the days my kindergartner had library, and because of that school's 6 day schedule, it only worked out to be a few times a month but it was great. Our new school doesn't have parent helpers in the library, but I go in every other week to help my now first grader's class pick out their book for homework. I like it for the same reasons you do - getting to know his classmates, observing the dynamic among the kids, and also observing how the teacher handles the kids.

D Lo said...

as an educator...having another adult in the room sometimes makes a big difference...the extra hand in class or just having someone your age around helps you remember that there are people out there that speak at your level lol!

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

"Spoons in the bowl." I hadn't heard that one before. I'm afraid we aren't very PC around here. We still sit "Indian style" and even play cowboys and bad guys in the backyard (complete with cap guns!). Shh.. don't tell anyone. :)

Kimberly/Mom in the City said...

I totally agree. I'm looking forward to when my youngest is in school, so that I can volunteer consistently. For now, I'm the class trip parent.

Carrie said...

I also like your reasons. I'm sure it means a lot to your kids to see that you care to devote some time to what is, for them, a little life consuming at times.

I had never heard "criss cross applesauce" or "hands in the bowl." Huh!

Ha! And I'm kinda laughing (and trying to imagine) what the fashion is for middle schoolers these days...

Silly Bus said...

Hi, I totally agree with your blog.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Love this! I miss volunteering at C's school (since L is not exactly conducive to quietly letting me volunteer), but based on my past experiences, I definitely agree with your points.

Just recently, I was thinking "C. is so silly, I mean really silly. Is he super-goofy compared to the other kids in his class?" Then I chaperoned a field trip and was assigned a group of 5 boys from the class. C. was completely normal in comparison. :)